Costa Rica Travel News – Chirripo is the highest peak in Costa Rica, at 12,533 feet. The view of the Talamanca Mountains from the top is indescribable. To get there, however, is not a trek for the weak. It’s a full three day rigorous hike that takes advance planning and training.
If you don’t have the time or ability to make the climb, do not despair. There are an assortment of trails through nearby reserves that offer nice views of the same mountains and wildlife.
Cloudbridge Nature Reserve offers some of the best waterfall observation points in the area. There are 700 acres of protected farmland that is home to some of the largest cats in the land. In the most isolated parts there are pumas, jaguars, ocelots, and an oncilla.
This reserve is at a high enough elevation to be labeled a cloud forest, as is Chirripo. The fauna that survive well in this climate include figs and orchids. Quetzals are only found in cloud forests. This reserve has existed since ’02 when it started as a reforestation project for cattle farms. The farms together formed an ecological research station where volunteers could plant trees. 4,500 trees are planted per year. There are various trails and gardens such as one with bright exotic flowers next to papyrus.
In only 11 years this land, on the edge of the Chirripo National Park, was transformed from clear pastureland into a jungle! One of the benefits of the restoration is that animals are coming back. Cameras strategically placed throughout the mountain trails have seen that some of the rarest animals in the country have made this reserve home.
Chirripo requires an entrance fee, paying for a guide, and additional costs for accommodations. If you’d like to visit Cloudbridge instead, it’s free to get in and there is no requirement to take a guide. They do accept donations. In case you find yourself not wanting to leave this wondrous world there are cabins for rent.
By Kerry La